After 162 days on the run, Chucky is in custody againPOSTED: 08/30/11 12:27 PM
Police investigate leak about operation
St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – Police arrested Omar Nelson, aka Chucky, yesterday morning. The 20-year-old Nelson had been on the run after he escaped from prison on March 19 for 162 days. In his absence, the fugitive was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for a robbery on October 16 of last year that resulted in the death of Dutchman Wouter-Jan Romeijn, for robbing a couple on the French side of their car, and for robbing a pizza deliveryman in Dutch Quarter on March 6 of last year.
Nelson will now have to stand trial for his escape from prison, which could net him an additional twelve months behind bars. His 18-year sentence has become irrevocable, because the fourteen day-term a defendant has to appeal a verdict has long expired.
Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte said yesterday that detectives are interrogating Nelson because he is suspected of having committed several crimes while he was on the lam. This concerns his possible involvement in two violent robberies and a kidnapping that took place last week in the Pointe Blanche area.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson said that the team of eight officers that managed to nab Nelson was called very early in the morning after the police had received a tip about the fugitive’s whereabouts. “Within ten minutes everybody was at the station, and by seven o’clock Chucky was in custody.”
Henson said that Nelson was not armed when he was arrested in an apartment in the Nazareth district and that he offered not a lot of resistance. “A little bit,” Henson said, “but it was quickly over.” Officers did confiscate a rifle in the apartment.
Officers also arrested three other people who were in the apartment. They will most likely be charged with assisting a fugitive.
Henson said that detectives had put many hours into tracking Chucky down since his escape. “When we got information that he was about to leave the island we stepped up the effort.” The Inspector extended thanks to the people who had put the police on the right track to make the arrest possible.
After his arrest, officers took Nelson to the St. Maarten medical center where he was treated for a wound he sustained to his chin. The lineup of police cars outside the hospital showed that the Arrest Team deployed dogs from its K9-unit during the action that resulted in Nelson’s capture.
Interestingly, the story that the police was going to arrest Nelson reached the Today newspaper office already on Friday, briefly after a female police officer visited a friend there.
Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos said that he knows the problem of leaks from his time in Aruba. “Officers got paid for giving this type of information,” he said. “It is very unprofessional if somebody spills the beans or actively leaks information. The chief commissioner knows this phenomenon from Aruba as well. But it is very difficult to figure out who leaked the information.”
Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte, who was made aware of the leak on Friday, said yesterday that he will investigate whether there was a leak within the police force. “We will sit with the team that did the operation and discuss it. But the most important for us was to bring him safely in. “We are also interrogating him, because we think that he has been busy while he was on the run.”
Nelson escaped on March 19 from the Gijzelaar-section in the Pointe Blanche prison. The National Detective Agency (landsrecherche) has conducted an investigation into how he managed to get out. Now that Nelson is in custody again, detectives will be able to wrap up this investigation by hearing his side of the story.
This is what prison director Rudsel Ricardo stated in a press release about the escape in March: “After a short investigation it was discovered that Omar N. had sawed through one of the bars and climbed onto the roof. Once on the roof he sawed through a metal opening used for getting air. He jumped from the roof of the Gijzelaar section and landed on the blade wire of the female section. He then jumped down onto the prison premises and climbed over the exterior fence.”
The investigation into the escape focuses on the question whether Nelson orchestrated his escape by himself or that he had help from one or more people inside Pointe Blanche.